OperaDDS Blog

January 26, 2017

Decrease Patient Dental Anxiety by Rethinking Your Practice Atmosphere

dental anxiety.jpgFew people look forward to sitting in the dentist’s chair.  Even though most dental procedures aren’t painful, just the mere thought of being examined along with the sights and sounds in a dental office can make people feel stressed.  A patient feeling  stressed can be enough for them to avoid going altogether.  

For the sake of your dental practice and your patients, consider ways to reduce their discomfort.  How can you take their dental anxiety down a notch?  Yes, being warm, calm, and friendly can play a large part, but did you know that the vibe, look, smell and feel of your dental practice can work wonders in reducing dental anxiety in patients?  That’s right—rethinking your dental practice atmosphere can be the key to keeping patients at ease and not dreading a return visit.  

Get Rid Of Patient Dental Anxiety With the Right Practice Atmosphere

The atmosphere of your dental office will affect your patients the moment they sit down in the chair.

You can’t go wrong with providing positive interactions in all phases of the patient’s visit and always keeping an inviting and warm atmosphere to reduce fear and discomfort.  You can also send them home with something of value and continue to make them feel cared for and welcome during all interactions.  Put yourself in your patient’s shoes:  would you feel welcomed and secure walking into your office? Does it feel positive, pleasant and like a calming atmosphere for someone with dental anxiety? Would a patient who is nervous and fearful at the dentist feel safe in your practice?  


If you are unable to answer yes to any of these questions, your dental practice may need an atmosphere fixer upper.  

Here are some quick tips on how to step up your office atmosphere game to ease a patient’s dental anxiety.

What Not to Do

Here are some things that you should avoid at all costs:

  • All white walls or walls painted in unpleasant colors
  • Shabby, dirty and uncomfortable waiting room furniture
  • Out-of-date reading materials
  • Nothing hung on the walls
  • Adirty bathroom

How to Create a Positive Dental Office Atmosphere

  • Use soothing colors:  patients will feel more comfortable and will be put at ease if you paint the walls with light shades of blue, beige or pastels like peach or pink.  This article explains the effects of color on dentistry.  
  • Create some mood lighting:  you don’t always need to rely on those bright fluorescent lights to provide all the lighting for your office.  Instead, keep ceiling lighting subdued and use lamps on end tables or floor lamps to provide a soft, natural glow in the waiting room and reception area.  
  • Get comfortable furniture: comfortable furniture can help ease any dental anxiety.  Think soft chairs, couches, throw pillows, end tables, and a coffee table to make the room super comfortable for your patients.
  • Bring in some plants: studies show that plants can ease anxiety and stress.
  • Bring in some plants to give the room some life or even photographs of plants, which can have a calming effect.
  • Add an aromatherapy diffuser
  • Keep reading material organized current and provide lots of options
  • Play quiet, relaxing music or nature sounds throughout the entire dental office
  • Add a beautiful thick rug to promote comfort and relaxation

Providing a positive dental practice atmosphere can reduce your patient’s dental anxiety and keep them coming back stress-free.  

Download our checklist to skyrocket practice success!  Effective communication is a critical component to running a successful dental practice. Is your practice's communication slowing you down? Download our Checklist to learn how to build powerful communication.